Las Vegas, Nev. (Nov. 27, 2016)–It’s a dilemma we’ve all faced: Taking on that one risk/reward golf hole that always seems to have your number. Well, fear not. You’re not alone. We’re going to guide you through the options on three of the toughest risk/reward holes in the Las Vegas area. Will you walk away with the jack pot or go bust? –By Bill Bowman
If you’ve conquered these diabolical holes in the past, congratulations. If you’re still struggling, we’re here to help. Take a deep breath and visualize the best way to take on these three holes. Your success on the hole–and your round–depends on it.
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Wolf Creek Golf Club, No. 17: This par-5 beauty has it all. Wolf Creek, an hour north of Las Vegas, is a roller-coaster ride of excellence. But nowhere is that more obvious than on the 562-yard 17th. The tee box is some 150-feet above the fairway. Don’t be shy on the tee…grab your driver. You’ll need it to reach the fairway. (Hint: If you can’t reach the fairway, you’re playing the wrong set of tees). Hitting the fairway is step one…and it’s the easy one. The second step is deciding whether to go for the green in two. In a word: Don’t. The shot will be a 5-wood or hybrid (at the very least) and more likely a 3-wood. With a stream feeding a pond that circles the front, right and back of the green, the risk is just too great. Lay the shot up to a comfortable yardage and go flag-hunting with a wedge.
Rio Secco Golf Club: The 566-yard, par-5 8th hole at Rio Secco
This Rio Secco hole may look like an easy risk/reward hole, but there’s plenty of danger lurking everywhere in the form of desert landscaping (along with a couple of bunkers). The tee shot must be long and straight as the fairway turns into desert in the blink of an eye. There’s not much rough to deal with, but players will find the desert terrain is plenty rough. If you’re going to go for this green in two, take note that this is an island green…except the green is perched above the desert landscaping rather than water. You may be able to find your ball in the desert, but hitting it may be a different story entirely. The safer (and smarter) second shot is to hit it as close to the edge of the fairway as possible and hit a wedge into the green. But if you find yourself trying the John Daly second shot, remember there is a little bailout area short and left that can save you.
Las Vegas National Golf Club: It’s not every day that the first hole on a golf course can make or break a round, but the opener at Las Vegas National is one of them. The par-5, playing 538 yards from the tips, looks inviting from the tee. And it can be…with a great drive and pin-point accuracy with the second shot. The open fairway is inviting off the tee, but the second shot (if you’re going for the green), requires precision as a huge pond on the right comes into view. A huge bunker sits between the pond and the green and will definitely see its share of action. This is one hole players may want to take the gamble and go for it in two. But remember: Starting your round off with one of those dreaded ‘others’ on the scorecard will certainly dampen your day.